SPORTY young pupils got a surprise when they were asked to tackle their latest assignment – players from Tonga’s international rugby league squad!

Kitted out in their country’s shirts, they put some of the youngsters from Tottington High School through their paces as they showed off their rugby league skills.

The squad had travelled to the UK for the Rugby League World Cup, and their visit to the Laurel Street school was arranged by teacher Mr Paddy Pole, who hails from Tonga.

He also spent a few years in New Zealand before moving to Bury and taking up his teaching post at Tottington High School five years ago.

He said: “I know the head coach, Charles Tonga, who is a close relative of mine.

“I also know some of the players, having played either against or with them in the past in New Zealand and Tonga.

“Being from a small island nation, the funding is not great and the few Tongans that we have around the area rallied to help them. We prepared food on some nights for the team just so that they could save their money. We made the trip daily to their hotel in Worsley to pick up their laundry and to check whether they needed daily items.”

Alas, after losing their last group game against Scotland, Tonga exited from the World Cup and the team made its way back home on Tuesday.

Mr Pole continued: “It’s good to bring my culture and country over to Tottington High School and introduce it to the pupils on this side of the world.

“I do use Tonga and my background in a lot of my teaching materials.

“Pupils are able to appreciate what they have and also aspire to see the world later on in life.”

Kingdom of Tonga is the only island in the South Pacific with a monarch and a population of 120,000 which is spread over 170 islands.